For public debate In this document and in Article 28 of the Oviedo Convention the overarching concept of ‘public debate’ is used to describe discursive interactions in the public sphere (that is, not in a professional context) through which individuals and groups may identify, explore and resolve their different interests in matters that affect (or potentially affect) them all. to be effective, it should be meaningful and valuable for, as well as respectful of, all those involved. Participants Public authorities, experts and citizens all may be regarded as participants in a public engagement activity or debate. should recognise that they have had a fair opportunity to be heard and that their contribution has been considered even if they do not agree with any conclusion that may have been reached as a result of the process.

Public debate is a two-way process of communication. The nature of the exchange – what is communicated, by whom, to whom – may differ, and any public debate activity An organised activity, delimited in scope, intended to stimulate and to attend to public debate on a specific theme in the expectation that it will inform or influence policy development or governance. will very likely involve multiple kinds of exchange.

 The effectiveness of public debate activities can be increased by attention to principles of design and conduct.

 Effective public debate activities foster empowerment, and trust among citizens and between citizens and government or public authorities.